I’m unearthing a unpublished draft post written in reaction to the announcement of Google Play All Access from 2013. I recall thinking of “Tyranny of the Majority”, “Dunbar’s Number” and “The 90-9-1 Principle” and the notion that communities of unpaid music curators are rare, fragile, precious and worthy of preservation.
The thing is, what Google was promoting then is equally apropos to what Spotify is now.
So here it is, from 2013, what the presenter said announcing All Access, and my reaction:
“Music unites us. It’s universal. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, the joy of music is a constant. And with ubiquitous mobile devices, there is a potential to bring that joy with us wherever we are. But when a bunch of us on the Play Team got together to talk about the next generation of our Music service, we all agreed the reality was somewhat different. Yes, mobile devices give us more choices than ever before, but they weren’t helping us discover music we loved. It felt more like work. .. so why is it that like managing my queue feels like a chore?”
My answer: “because it is a worthwhile chore.” Would you ignore a reading a book that wasn’t on the New York Times Bestseller list? What is wrong with expending effort, especially on something you are passionate about? For me the hunt and sharing of discoveries of any art is a joy. Google may have a spectacular categorization, tagging and recommendation algorithm, but if one succumbs to only what the robots anticipate as your every desire, it diminishes the value of one’s connection to every other sentient being.